Balkan House is a Serbian restaurant that features the best of Eastern European and Mediterranean cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner. Generous Sunday Buffet starting at 4pm. Join us for live music every Friday & Saturday night!
This was my first time eating serbian food and sitting inside an eastern european styled restaurant.
i've read about eastern european cuisine, tasted a couple things here and there at european festivals and food fairs, but it was mostly never a complete picture for me.
today, i took the liberty of visiting balkan house for lunch. having heard wonderful things about their buffet, i decided to give it a try.
first thought was, the buffet isn't big. this isn't necessarily a bad thing. @ 19.00 including tip for lunch (16.95 + tax and tip = 19.00 for me), i'd come here to eat again, but i do have a few suggestions and, at minimal, wishes.
i think adding in just 2 more dish, would make the value feel better. maybe even 1 more entree and 1 more dessert choice. the reason is everything just feels minimal - despite the great quality and cookery of the foods, a buffet also needs choice.
the buffet included dishes such as buttered mashed potatoes, serbian style rice, a baked potato hash or sorts, steamed veggies, a kind of veal roulade (The star of this buffet), serbian cevapi, rotisserie chicken, a meat creamy sauce / stew and another sauce stew of a tomato nature for the schnitzels.
the mashed potatoes were well seasoned, creamy and hearty.
rice was nothing to rave about.
the baked potato hash was also well seasoned and the browning of parts of the hash added more flavors.
steamed veggies...well what can i say? it's steamed veggies - eat your vegetables!
also on the veggies side, you have your choice of greek salad or coleslaw. now, the greek salad was average but the coleslaw was great. healthy, not creamy and full of vinegar kick. a great salad that is healthy and cuts through the fattiness of the entrees.
the veal roulade, the star of the buffet, was cooked to perfection. i felt, at first if this dish would actually make them lose money because of the time needed to bake this plus the ingredient itself (Veal isn't cheap). in the end, coming to the buffet just for the veal and the dessert (I will get to it later), will be well worth it.
the cevapi was also well seasoned and grilled although a little bit dry, along with the schnitzel, maybe because the meat they used were on the leaner side and does not sit well under a heated buffet lamp.
the creamy stew with meat was excellent but the meat chucks inside the stew were a little bit dry. i can not vouch whether this is due to authenticity or because of the nature of buffets always sucking the moisture out of foods, but this was a stew so...at least for me, i could eat a whole bowl of it smothered over rice.
the tomato sauce stew was also quite good, not overly salty and went well with the meats, especially the schnitzel.
serbian cuisine to me, because i am new to it, gives me a feeling of richness, heartiness and simplicity. whenever i eat a new cuisine, i do not judge it culinary or objectively, but rather from a cultural, historical and humane perspective. some people maybe call serbian cuisine bland, but it does have its charms and tenacity.
especially in its dessert and fruit punch. i'd love it if they could push out one more dessert but, that's just me.
for the dessert, the homemade serbian style cheesecake, was a first time for me of this style. it was absolutely delicious. not sweet. soft and airy, light and foamy like, it was like eating a piece of heavenly clouds. i'd imagine eastern european cheesecakes to be similar in nature such as this, when compared to the more heavier, more dense style of new york that many people around here are more accustomed to.
the fruit punch was just a darling to drink, but they really need to put more on the buffet table. it went empty fast, along with the cheesecake :).
service was also very good. the waitress was just sweet and lovely and very helpful. the chef, who came out often to load up on more foods and also to check the foods, was very helpful, informative and proud of his creations. overall, the staff was very nice.
i'd return again, but this isn't a place i can eat at often due to health reasons since the cuisine is in itself quite high in fat. but this is eastern europe after all, so while there, i enjoyed the experience and food.
Last night, girlfriends and I came here for some schnitzel - mmmm craving some more just thinking about it. Looking from the outside, I wouldn't expect the inside to look as cozy as it did. Yes, a little bit dated, but it had a nice "cabin" feel to the place. I really like the fact that every table was a rounded booth which makes for ample seating. It was also, in my opinion, perfectly lit - nice and dim, but not too dark.
I have to admit, I'm a little bit confused at what the cuisine is classified as. Two of us had the chicken schnitzel and one had the kalamari. We all got portuguese buns to start, followed by greek salad, then our entrees came with greek rice and mashed potatoes. The schnitzel was a tad bit bland for my liking, but teamed up with the lime that came on our plate, it was yum yum good. The tzatziki sauce had a punch of garlic, so go easy on it if you're there on a date.
For only $12.95, it was a good deal for the amount of food we received (especially that huge piece of schnitzel).
The service was okay. They cleared the plates often and there was a tiny bit of small talk, but it was nothing special. I ordered a pineapple juice, and to my surprise, it came room temp. No ice, and not chilled - at $2.50/small glass, it wasn't worth it.
There was live music - a woman playing an instrument of some sort, but it was way too loud for dinner. Eventhough it was just the three of us, we had a hard time hearing each other over the music.
On Sundays, there is a buffet starting at 4pm. I would like to return to try some other items.
A friend recommended BH to me and I have been meaning to give it another try. A visit a couple of years ago was a disaster. This time, I noticed the place had been totally redecorated, and there were more servers (plus they are authentically Balkan). To make things even nicer they had a quite decent singer performing.
I was with a group this time, so we got to try a selection from the menu. I had the tripe soup which was delicious and had lots of tender tripe, and my friends had chicken wings and calamari appys. The wings had BBQ sauce and were tasty, and the calamari was well-prepared and had tzatziki sauce for dipping. I don’t think they were authentically Balkan but hey, why should these guys constrain themselves? After all they came here to be free.
For mains we had chicken schnitzel with a mushroom sauce that was really good, pork skewers, a spicy chicken stew and the sampler platter which featured different meats and sausage. The meats were all very tasty, but I was told that the spicy stew was a little mild. The one diner in the group who tried the sampler couldn’t finish half despite being a hungry teenager, so it is fair to say it was a big portion. One huge bonus was the home-made bread that came with the food, and of course the $2.25 glasses of draft beer which were more like pints made the meal that much better.
The atmosphere was great, the servers were friendly and efficient, and the w /c was clean.
The cost was actually very reasonable too, and as I write this review I am still VERY full.
Went to this place three times for their buffet. The result is they are very good during lunch time and not good for dinner. The reason being during lunch buffet the food are freshly cooked. The meat are juicy and the veggies are crunchy. Dinner time comes around and you will see food that has been reheated and sat in oil. Pretty gross actually.
So if you want to go for lunch, i highly recommend it. The food is delicious. If you are going for dinner i suggest you skip the buffet and get their regular menu items.
We go to the Balkan House often for lunch. This place really is a hidden gem in Burnaby.
I always order their chicken schnitzel lunch special. It's delicious and quite a large portion. Their calamari and sausages are also yummy. More importantly, most of these huge dishes that come with home made soup and bread are between $5-$8! Can't find better value anywhere else!
When there yesterday for lunch ... 8 kids 8 adults.
Seated quickly as the place was not that busy. The restaurant was clean and tidy, tables were set nicely.
Most of the adults ordered the Roasted Veal andthe kids the Schnitzels. The meal came with bread, soup and greek like salad. Soup was good, bread added a good filler and the salad was good. The portion of the Veal was good, but the gravy was way too salty .. needed lots of water. My SIL has been there before and she noted the saltiness also, her pervious visits, the gravy was not as salty.
Washrooms were clean and the tables settings were nice.
Over all, a very good first experience (other than the Salty gravy).
Would recommend other enjoy it also, I would definitely come again (as long as the gravy was not that salty).
Let me start by telling you that the old location on renfrew not only was a much nicer establishment, it even resembled an authentic european hunters lodge style restaurant. The food was more or less exactly what you would find at my Aunt's table back home.
But, since they have moved the business to burnaby, everything i cherised about the old place has vanished. The food itself isn't too bad, but still a shadow of what it used to be.
The old place would have been given 5 starts by me. The new location, not even close.
This place looks sort of dodgy but it’s a hidden gem. They have the best lunch specials, which include warm bread, heaps of real butter, a unique & tasty chicken noodle soup, and a main course of your choice which is served with fries or rice and Greek salad. The portions are very generous, and lunch is about $7 but I usually tip generously.
My wife and I have been meaning to try this place for some time, and we figured Valentine's Day without reservations would be the perfect night. We got seated near a door, but we were satisfied seeing that it was short notice.
Right away we noticed that everyone was speaking Serbian (I think). For a while, it seemed that my wife and I were the only ones speaking English in this packed restaurant. The customers and restaurant staff seemed to know each other, and there appears to be a lot of "regulars".
Right away, we felt that the prices were reasonable, and that money would be no object here. Food and drinks came out quickly, but we were not served water.
I had the raznjici (a shishkebab type of thing) and my wife had a mushroom schnitzel dish. While I enjoyed my dish, I generally thought the flavour was on the mild side. I enjoyed a sample of my wife's dish, and she was very satisfied. Being Valentine's Day, she wanted to try the sausage, but she had to save that for the next visit. The portions were large for the price, and this was very pleasing. The Greek salads that came with the dinners were fresh and flavorful.
The live music (in Serbian) was ok, not too loud, and fitted the ambiance. The service was efficient, but I generally would have to get the wait staff's attention if we wanted anything. However, they were very busy, and they still managed to be polite and quick.
We will return because this place provides excellent value and something a little different.
I went there over the weekend with my sister for the first time. I had the balkan platter ($15.95) and she had the vienna schnitzel ($12.95), it also came with a side of greek salad and bread (it was awesome). The portion size is huge for what you pay for, and the taste was fairly good. This was the first time I had Eastern European food, so I don't have a base for comparison. The balkan platter came with a variety of different meat along with rice and mashed potato, there was too much meat for me, so I shared alot of it with my sis. Her Schnitzel was great as well, it was huge, crispy, full of flavor. It was a little on the dry side for my liking, but she liked it more than I did. Overall, I'll be back at Balkan again in the near future, most likely to try out their Sunday Lunch Buffet for $15.95
Been wanting to try their Sunday buffet a little while now. At 15.95, it's not a bad deal. The schnitzel was the best part of the buffet and the meat patties are reasonably seasoned and tasty. Two kinds of salads available, Greek and Cabbage which were ok. The only thing I didn't really like was that I think I might have chipped a tooth on the roasted potato. It's a pretty small place on Edmonds and parking isn't the best. It got very packed in there on Sunday, so reservations would be a good idea. Service was adequate considering how rushed they were.
I took my (non Eastern European) girlfriend here on a lark. We did notice that most everyone here spoke Serbian, even the customers. The server was rather aloof, but attentive enough without being bad.
The Balkan Platter is supposedly for 2 people, but it can easily feed 4 or more. We were absolutely stuffed, and had lots to take home. A good value for the money.
The atmosphere is rather dark and a bit dreary. It would be easy to feel out of place if you aren't Slavic, and I figure this place could try to be a bit more welcoming to the non Slavs.
But the pork and veg stew was remarkably bland and nearly tasteless - the only veg was some soggy sweet peppers in a sauce that reminded me of low-sodium Campbell's tomato soup. The dominant flavour in the cevapcici was salty meat and little else. And they were out of all deserts except for one which we ordered. Then 8:15 came rolling around and the live "entertainment" started up: a guy with electronic keyboard and drum machine, singing in a foreign language which was probably quite authentic and atmospheric. And loud. We cancelled our desert order and fled this glorified karaoke.
Our waitress was pleasant enough and did the right thing on our bill when she got our order for five cevapcici wrong and brought us ten.
I suppose the price was right: $30 for the two of us (no booze), but how do you put a value on a disappointing meal?
My personal standard for a decent restaurant is it has to be able to cook at least as well as me, and this place failed. Something bad has happened to this eatery since the glowing reviews from earlier in this year. It is now a place to, um,... reconsider.
I love Balkan House. Not only can you eat for around $15, but you get the most delicious food you can think of. It has a specific Balkan cuisine which reminds me of home. Some comments I've seen below say that it has "greek" salad but "greek" salad is served everywhere in the Balkans and it's not called that.
Their schnitzels are huge and very tasty and the dumplings are also really good. The greek salad is always fresh and their wine is also very good.
The staff is very friendly and will provide excellent service. They also do catering which is very cheap compared to other catering places, and for the money you pay you get excellent products.
Also tip for those who like desert, their Baklava is amazing and I don't think i've ever tasted better baklava than at Balkan house.
It really feels like home! Ambient is very typical of restaurants in the Balkans: dimmed lights, traditional design, tablecloths, well-dressed and professional personnel, and an owner who takes his job seriously! The main waiter speaks 4 languages. The prices are pretty good too for the amount of food that you get.
Even though I love food from my own country, I must say that vegetarians should stay away from this place, as there is nothing vegetarian on the menu except 2 or 3 kinds of salads. Otherwise food is very tasty and fullfilling, but mostly specializing in fattening meats, so it is not good to eat here too often. You'd wonder why Serbs are considered the second fattest nation in Europe!
Come here quite often with the boys for a great lunch. The food is good as I always order the roasted veal or the chicken schnitzel.
The meal includes soup and a bun for about 8 bucks.
The service is always good and attentive and the food arrives quite quickly. This place is will stay on the go to list for lunch, will try their dinner menu sometime soon.
By the way their calemari appy is very good also.
Balkan house is great for their awesome portions, decent prices, and wonderful authentic Balkan staff haha... The restaurant always seems to draw patrons of Eastern European heritage, so I hope this review encourages others to give it a try. Be prepared though, it's a lot of meat!
Had a share platter that had far too much meat and not enough extras like sauces to go with it. It's a carnivors dream to eat here since they have signature schnitzels and sausages and other pan fried and grilled meats.
Service was great but the part that killed me is the decor and state of the restaurant. I felt like it was cold war times somewhere in 1914 Russia or something. Seats, walls were falling apart but still somewhat bearable. I believe this place is family run and we have to be a bit forgiving about the decor and ambiance.
I don't think I'd repeat unless I wanted to pig out on greasy (but tasty) meats with no end.
Let me first say it here, I have been a Balkan House Restaurant customer for over 10 years. I am a Chinese and this is the place I go to eat Eastern European food. In all my visits there I haven't seen many Chinese around in fact I could use both of my hands to count how many I have seen eating there. I don't know what most people are talking about in the restaurant and I am not particularly fond of the live music there either.
But this has been the place all 3 generations of family members have been to for East European food. We liked the Schnitzel all along. Veal Schnitzel is not on the menu but if you ask (like I do everytime) you will be able to get it and it never disappoints. The bread is fresh and warm too.
I must say the service was Mediocre - there's definitely room for improvement. The gentleman I used to see everytime was pretty good (I haven't seen him lately though). He did recommend me to try the ethnic desert, which's quite refreshing.
Not sure about some of the past reviews, but the food was great. There was about 40-50 of us and we arranged it so that plates would come out as we needed them. This way of providing for lunch or dinner is great, instead of the old fashion PER HEAD cost. Service was quick, but 'english' manners are missing. Saying 'pardon' or 'excuse my reach' wouldn't hurt. Looks like the place got a paint job since my last visit. Chairs could use an upgrade... not much of a cushion. Overall we were pleased with the food, it was just like being back in the old country. Thanks....just improve the Service expectations and your well on your way to being a 'better' restaurant.